Honouring Joe Rikley

March 1, 1980 – July 19, 2017

We are writing this story to honour a friend and self advocate leader who passed away suddenly on July 19, 2017. Joe was a leader and musician who went by the name of DJ Wheels. He will be remembered for his epic songs and mad computer skills. Joe had big dreams for his future and was enrolled in business courses at the University of the Fraser Valley before he passed away. He was a loyal employee at HOME Society where he worked as a computer technician for 11 years.

Joe never let the word disability get in his way. He believed in the voice and contributions of people with diverse abilities and helped start the CLBC Editorial Board in 2013. He was a well-known self advocate in the Fraser Valley and belonged to the Mission Self Advocacy group. He was co-founder of SelfAdvocateNet.com, which he ran with his friend Bryce Schaufelberger for 17 years. It is the only website in B.C. that pays self advocates to publish stories about their lives and the contributions they make as full citizens in their communities.

Joe’s smile, resilience, and passions for music and for making a difference in his community will be remembered by his friends, family and colleagues who miss him dearly.

“My friend Joe was great person. He had a manner of respect in how he conducted himself to you. Joe had willpower to succeed in living a life of happiness. Joe showed us determination. He proved people wrong about disabilities and ignored those that put you down. He would just go for it and he would do it,” says his friend Bryce Schaufelberger.

Joe was also an integral part of the annual B.C. Self Advocacy Leadership Institute. This year will be the 18th retreat of self advocates, supporters and allies who will gather to network, share stories and learn about advocacy, rights, safety and much more. See below for more details on this year’s event.

18th Annual Self Advocacy Leadership Institute

Where: Camp Luther Retreat Centre, 9311 Shook Road, Mission, B.C., Fraser Valley

When: November 10 – November 12, 2017; 4:30 pm on Friday to 12:00 pm (Noon) on Sunday

For Questions and Registration: Please call coordinator Gregg Schiller at 604-688-7001 or by e-mail at GreggSchiller@shaw.ca.

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